Monday, November 4, 2013

Heart Broken Over Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure.
Also known as CHF affects lots of dogs, all over.
This is probably the most elementary school, lack of concrete data type sentence this writer has ever written, because quite frankly it is too painful.

This is Callie.
She turned 7 on Halloween.
7 years ago, I was sitting at home, on my computer searching.
No, I wasn't lonely and had a hole in my heart I needed to fill. I was trying to save my sister's life.

Halloween 2000 my sister, my best friend, the mother of the three most incredible kids you will ever meet, was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I remember that day and the events leading up to it, but right now I am upset enough about my little girl, I can't ....

So... I read this article.
"little girl with Leukemia HEALED by Maltese dog"
"Maltese have healing energy"

So I searched and researched, applied all I have learned in the business world, to procure not only the best, but the sweetest little dog ever.

Callie arrived by plane a week after my birthday. I rented a limousine because the breeder said you needed to hold them close to your heart because they will need to bond to you and that it might not happen right away.  I arrived at "CARGO" and when the crate arrived, I saw peeking through the holes, my soul mate. (now don't think I am weird, she's a dog, not a human, but we had an immediate connection)  She was the size of a VHS tape. (yes I am aging myself when I write this) and settled into my arms.

The first night she spent with my sister and my BFF slept on her couch with her hand in the bed below so Callie could feel love. Everyone fell in love with her. She is a spitfire, so sweet, and funny.

She began a honking cough/snort thing a while back and I just chalked it up to her stuffed nose as she is so low to the ground and has allergies. But then the excessive (in my opinion) panting and the rapid breathing even when she should be at rest.

One evening, two weeks ago I take her to the animal ER and the diagnosis came back.
She has an enlarged heart and with medication she should do just fine, just fine until.
(the vet was sweet, she said her chihuahua also had CHF and was doing just fine on meds)

The Cardiologist at the CVCA for animals said that she will do well on meds, until she no longer does well on meds.. 18 months... 2 years?? She is on the young side for this.

Does she really miss my sister who went on another 5 years before her cancer took over and won?
Is her heart broken? I see her run her toys into the living room, which became the dying room, where hospice in all it's nonchalance turned "the green room" into a hospital room. I know she misses my sister terribly, but is she ready to go now? What about me???

We have been on her meds now going on 3 weeks with some ups and downs.  The first week her panting has stopped and her honk pretty much disappeared, except for an occasional morning honk, or overly excited hack. She slept most of the time that week, no doubt catching up on much needed rest, robbed by a rapid breathing pattern and seemingly no relief.  Week 2 as the one medication is decreasing, she seems to cough more, but her energy is up, and she is once again the uncontainable ball of energy.  Week 3 after a noticeable increase in coughing and wheezing and 2 calls to the CardioVET she is back up to her original dose of one of the drugs and seems to be better.

but for how long?
all we have is today.
respect and care for your family,
love your neighbors,
treat your enemies as you would treat yourself,
don't sweat the small stuff, and remember it truly is all... small stuff.

***Now, please don't think I am taking this as it is.
I am researching protocols, and watching her diligently (maybe too diligently I was told I need to relax and let her feel my relaxation) and when we have gone to our "2 week on the full enchilada" blood test visit I will speak with the vet about diet, exercise, outlook. I will find resources, people to network with.  But I will also know when it's time to let go. She will tell me.

And then.
MY heart will be broken.